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Federal budget’s ‘quarry vision’ for Western Australia
Media Release – Senators Scott Ludlam and Rachel Siewert – May 11th, 2011
The Federal Budget locks in a Canberra-centric view of Western Australia as the nation’s quarry, regardless of the consequences for Western Australians, Greens senators for Western Australia said today.
“There is no serious attempt to address the growing gap in our two-speed economy,” said Senator Rachel Siewert. “The budget seems primarily fixated with accelerating the mining boom, with no regard to the consequences for housing affordability, environmental and heritage protection or the damage being done to other sectors of the economy.”
Senator Siewert noted that whenever West Australians are forced to pay more for housing, transport, education, healthcare and groceries they are told “it’s the mining boom”.
“Those who are not on a mining wage endure the inflationary affects of the boom without the salary to keep up,” Senator Siewert said. “This budget blissfully ignores the West Australians who are doing it tough as the labour market is increasingly casualised and affordable rentals become a thing of the past.”
“The training focus is on mining – with the taxpayer footing the bill for the training that companies should be funding themselves if they’re having trouble recruiting people,” said Senator Ludlam. “Most of the investment in WA sails completely over the heads of West Australians and is going to land directly in the pockets of mining companies. It’s a dramatic misallocation of resources."
Senator Ludlam said the focus on roads, particularly on roads to service the mining sector and unnecessary urban freeways, suggested the government was oblivious to the changing infrastructure needs of the state in the 21st century.
“The price of oil is rising and Perth is becoming increasingly congested, but there’s virtually nothing in the budget for our public transport system, and certainly nothing for electric light rail. The renewable energy sector continues to starve while the reckless stampede to entrench our highly polluting economy continues unabated.
“Western Australia deserves better than to be seen by the Federal Government as a quarry and a cash cow.”
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302